This one posed quite the dilema. When it comes to inspiration, El Fenix is where it all began. Raw Material inspired the coffee industry accross the globe to get behind their community wet mill project in the most inclusive way, with coffee. Much like us, Merito answered their call and were rewarded with Pink Bourbon, something that we shared on DAY 7 of our coffee advent calendar. When the chance came up to share it again we had to pause, the story and the development at El Fenix has undoubtedly made a difference in countless lives across colombia and beyond, a story that is constantly evolving, something that we are humbled to have supported in a small way.
But this is about shining a light on South America as a whole, leading us to settle on this offering from Merito. (Words by Sucafina Specialty Coffee)
Our Cascavel Vermelha (Portuguese for red) is a pulpy Brazil with lots of red fruit and refined sweetness. Sourced through our vertically-integrated supply chain, our 84 SCA cup Cascavel offers sustainable, consistent coffees at accessible pricing. Our experienced QC origin teams specially select every coffee that makes its way into our high-quality Cascavel blends. We focus on whole-harvest sourcing, producer resilience and roaster success.
While you’re thinking about the practical and aesthetic positives of rattlesnakes, make sure to check out our Cascavel Verde (Portuguese for green). The Verde is a classic, fruity 84 cup Brazil with citric acidity and floral notes.
Most Brazilian coffee is grown on huge farms, built to maximize productivity. The relatively flat landscape across many of Brazil’s coffee regions makes mechanical harvesting more possible and that, combined with high minimum wages that make labor more expensive, has led most farms to opt for this type of mechanical harvesting over selective hand-picking.
While, in the past, this mechanization meant that strip-picking was the norm, today’s mechanical harvesters are increasingly sensitive and allow farms to harvest on fully ripe cherries. With the aid of newer, more selective technologies, there’s a growing number of farms who are increasingly concerned with – and able to deliver - cup quality.
In many cases, a mixed form of ‘manual mechanized’ harvesting may be used, especially on less level sections of farms. Ripe coffee is picked using a derricadeira – a sort of mechanized rake that uses vibration to gently harvest ripe cherry from trees. A tarp is spanned between coffee trees to capture the cherry as it falls.
This coffee has been selected based on its fruity profile. In most cases, Natural processing connotes such flavors; however, this coffee may have some Pulped Natural contributions as well. Natural lots will be dried on large patios under sun, while Pulped Natural will be pulped and then laid to dry on patios. In both cases, the coffee will be raked and turned regularly to ensure even drying and a clean cup profile.
NY2 is a designation that assures us that there are no more than 6 visible defects in a 300-gram sample. This small number of defects is unnoticeable in most cups, ensuring a consistent and delicious flavor.
This coffee is also screen 16/17. Screens are used to separate beans by size. The process of separating beans by size is a crucial stage of the dry milling process. A screen grading machine has a series of screens stacked on top of each other. Green coffee is fed into the machine, and as the screens are shaken, beans that are smaller than holes on a specific screen will fall through to a lower screen until they reach a screen with holes too small for them to fit.
16 screens have holes that keep beans that are large than 6.5 millimeters while 17 screens keep all beans that are between 6.75 millimeters and 7 millimeters (the size of 18 screens). Therefore, all beans in a 16/17 blend will be between 6.5 millimeters and just shy of 7 millimeters.
Uniformity in beans sizes helps keep roasting more constant since similar size beans will roast along similar trajectories. Just under 40% of all coffee in the world is produced in Brazil - around 3.7 million metric tons annually. With so much coffee produced, it’s no wonder that the country produces a wide range of qualities. Brazil produces everything from natural Robusta, to the neutral and mild Santos screen 17/18, to the distinctive Rio Minas 17/18. In recent years, Brazilian producers have also begun investing more heavily in specialty coffee production. Through our in-country partners in Brazil, including our sister company, we are able to provide a wide range of Brazilian coffees to our clients: from macrolot to microlot.
ALTITUDE: 800 to 1,110 meters above sea level
OWNER: Farmers working with Sucafina Brazil
FARM SIZE: 7.5 hectares on avearge
Image credit: Sunafina Specialty